Books

Top 5 books about female friendships, chosen by Salma El-Wardany

The author, poet and women's rights advocate selects five of her favourite works that centre female subjects and the friendships between women

Woman at sunset

1. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells

Set in the heady whirlwind of Louisiana in the 1940s, this glorious depiction of female friendship entirely centres on the women and their relationships. Love interests, husbands, even children take second place to the tale of these women and their history. 

2. Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

No one captures the agonising truth of womanhood like Taddeo. Three Women looks at female relationships with such searing insight it feels like your innermost thoughts have been put on the page. 

3. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montomery

This is the book that taught me, as a little girl, how to be a friend. The story of Anne and Diana is one of the great love stories of literature. A wonderful lesson in what it means to show up for your friend, and to love them through the years. 

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4. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This novel is a brilliant commentary on race in America, but it’s also a wonderful depiction of female friendship, especially between women of colour. It very cleverly shows how white female friendships vary wildly from black women’s friendships, how these separate friendship groups must live and die by a different set of rules.  

5. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

A wonderful portrayal of female friendships and what happens when those relationships begin to fracture. I adored reading about the complexities of female friendship and the work required to sustain them.

These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany

These Impossible Things by Salma El-Wardany is out now (Trapeze, £14.99). You can buy it, and most of these titles, from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

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